Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Question Fridays!

 Head on over to 'My Little Life' and link up too!!!

1. If you had a weekly newspaper column, what would you name it?Obviously,  'Jersey Girl in Louisiana'!

2. Who is your mentor/inspiration?
I guess the cliche answer is my parents, but it is 100% true.  They both worked their butts off to give my brother and I the best life they could.  And it was an awesome life.  And they are the world's best grandparents to my boy.

There are a handful of amazing ladies at my church too, who are so caring and giving and full of Faith that they inspire me to be a better Christian.  

3. What is your wake up beverage of choice?

Hmm.. Well if I could have ANYTHING I wanted I would either have a Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frapp or a Hazelnut Iced Coffee from DD, but since those are not my morning options, I either have regular Folgers coffee or a cup of tea.  Occasionally juice too.

4. Would you wear your mom's clothes?

I would and I do!  My mama is mega stylish.  She has been in clothing retail for YEARS and definitely has a better wardrobe then me.  I LOVE getting hand-me-downs from my mama.  They are awesome and smell like home <3

5. When you were a kid, did you put posters on your wall? If so, what were they of?

Backstreet Boys!!!  I LOVED (okay I still do, hush.) Nick Carter!  I still joke with my husband that Nick Carter will be my second husband.  My walls were COVERED.  I went through a stage where I love JTT (Of Home Improvement) too, but no one held my heart like BSB.
My bedroom in 2000 and I still never close my drawers, much to my husband dismay.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday School and 9/11

Yesterday was my first Sunday as a Sunday School Teacher.  I teach 2nd-5th grade along with 2 other ladies. I have to admit, I was really scared about teaching such an impressionable age and being fairly new to the church(I started attending the Episcopal Church at 16 with a friend and her family, stopped attending at 18 and started attending 3 years ago with my husband and our son), I don't want my lack of knowledge to hold anyone back from learning, but our rector asked me to teach and I felt God tug on my heart(He does that often.. so if you think I am over-committed, take it up with the Big Guy.), so I signed up for 20+ weeks of teaching.

Yesterday we had Little Chapel, so I only had my kids for about 20 minutes at the end of the time, and being 9/11, another member of our church had brought a book in for me to read to the class.

Let me back up a little and say that I lived in New Jersey on September 11, 2001.  I was a senior in high school and I was sitting in my 3rd period class, ironically called 'Politics of Hatred'.  I remember the announcement over the PA system that a plane had hit one of the towers at the World Trade Center.  I remember hearing the second plane hit.  I remember a friend in my class RUNNING out of class, crying, and I followed her.  She said her father was suppose to be at a meeting in the WTC that morning and she needed to find out.  We went to the nurses office and she called home. Her father's meeting was canceled that morning, possibly sparing his life.  I remember the school went on lock-down and no one could come in and no one could get out.  Eventually they let us leave and head home to our families.  Being sandwiched between NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, was a scary place to be.  By now 4 planes have crashed and no ones knows what will happen next.  Will they go to Philadelphia?? (Which was 10 minutes away from the town I lived in.) Will a plane just randomly crash somewhere else close by if passengers on the plane over take the hijackers again?    I am sure everyone in this country was scared, but I don't think people who lived outside of the Northeast were as scared as we were. I don't think the anniversary of 9/11 effects them like it does me and many others who were so close to everything.

So back to Sunday School.  That morning I didn't really have time to think about the 9/11 anniversary too much.  Sure, I'd been watching shows on the History Channel for a few days, but in the hustle of trying to get myself ready and my 5 year old ready for his first Sunday School class, I just didn't dwell on it.  Then I was handed the book I knew I needed to make time to read to these children.  Most of them who weren't even born on that horrifying day 10 years ago.  Then I wasn't sure how I was going to get through it.  For me, when I watch 9/11 coverage and documentaries, it literally makes my chest tight, it makes me relive the emotions I felt 10 years ago, and actually may be even more emotional for me now, as a wife and mother. But I think it is so very important for the generations to come to know what happened on that day, and remember not just the horrible loss of lives, but the courage of those firefighters who were running into a building that everyone else was running out of, and the things that 'every day people' did, how this country was so bonded together after such a tragedy,

So after Little Chapel and a craft,  I took my kids into our classroom and began to talk to them about 9/11.  The book I was given to read was called "The Chapel That Stood" By A.B. Curtiss.

It was a sweet story about St. Paul's Chapel that stood next to the Twin Towers and how it sustained no damage, as the sycamore tree in front of it saved it. It talked about the pairs of shoes firemen left on its fence as they quickly changed into their boots, many never returning for their shoes. The story taught the lesson that terrorism is temporary and courage and faith is forever.

It was NEVER so hard to get through a story tear free.  I didn't look away from the pages once, because I knew if I looked into the children's eyes, I would have lost it. 9/11/2001 is a day I will NEVER EVER forget. I will pray for the lives lost and for the comforting of those who have lost someone.  I will thank all firefighters and police officers and military persons forever, whether they had a link to 9/11 or not, because these are the men and women who help to keep us safe every day.

So tell you young kids about 9/11.. teach them the history so history doesn't repeat itself.


And most importantly.... NEVER FORGET.

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Top 10 Reason why Preschool is better then Kindergarten.

My little man has started Kindergarten. And do you know what I have learned in the 3 weeks since Kindergarten started.  That preschool was waaaaay better.  Do you think I could forge his birth certificate and send him back to preschool???      Yeah..... I figured that was probably a bad idea.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 reasons why I think Preschool was better then Kindergarten.

10.  Preschool was at our church.  Our nice, safe, loving church, full of familiar faces, good hugs, and warm smiles.  A place where I could come and go on the property as I please. Where I could stop in the book store, or help in the pumpkin patch and catch a glimpse of my boy.  In Kindergarten, I know no one.  No one is hugging. And they pretty much tell the parents they don't want you on the campus.

9.   The dreaded bus in Kindergarten.  Mason LOVES the bus, but he is a boy, of course he is going to love some big yellow vehicle with many wheels.  In the bus, there are no car seats(yes, my 5 year old still rides in a car seat, I hope yours is too), heck there are no seat belts.  There are too many big kids for my liking and its not like I know the bus driver. I know his last name and his boss' phone number and THAT.IS.IT.  How do I know he isn't some crazy crackhead who is going to take my baby on a joy ride to the ghetto areas of New Orleans??  How do I know some big boy isn't going to pick on my sweet baby??  How do I know they will make it safely the entire mile to school?.  I DON'T and when you are a neurotic mom, like me, you wait every single morning with your cell phone close at hand, just in case...

8.  In Preschool we made friends.  Now, I am sure Mason will make more friends as the year goes on, and that is all well and good for him, but what about me?  In Preschool, all the parents waiting in the school hallways together for our kids classroom door to open. We saw each other every day, sometimes twice or 3 times a day.  In Kindergarten, I send my kid on the bus, so I don't meet any parents and even if he didn't take the bus, you aren't allowed to get out of the car in the carpool lane, so no good that would do.  We want out Preschool friends back!

7.  Nap mats.. Seriously.  Here are some comparison photos.  I got these photos from Google.

In Preschool, nap mats were like this (Okay, a little less nice, with solid colors) with pillows and blankets attached to them.

This is the Kindergarten "nap mat" Looks like a mat for a gym if you ask me. No pillow, no blanket, nothing.

6.  Communication with the teacher.  In Preschool, like I said before, we stood in the school hallway every morning and afternoon for pick up and drop off.  There was always a chance to chat with the teachers,  In Kindergarten, you either have to write them a note and send it with your kid, or call the school, leave a message, and hope to hear back in the next day or two. 

5.  Kindergarten classes have tooooooo many kids. There are 30 kids in my son's class and ONE teacher.  That poor, poor woman. In Preschool there was 16 and 2 teachers.  And 15 other kids besides your own, is the perfect number of kids to invite to a birthday party.  I would loose my mother trucking mind with that many kids running around.  So then you can't send party invitations to school to hand out because you cant do that unless everyone is invited and its not like I know any of the parents of these kids, to mail them invitations or even hand them invitations. Great. It should be super easy to throw birthday parties for the next handful of years.

4.  Bullying. Big kids, more kids, name calling, laughing, mocking, you name it. The stories I have heard from my friends who live in other states are experience the same kind of bullying in their Kindergarteners classrooms too. SERIOUSLY they are FIVE AND SIX!!!  What the heck are these kids learning at home?!?!? 

3.  Homework. Bogus. Enough said.
2.  The hours.  Last year I was able to send Mason to school for 3 hours a day and then pick him up and get to spend the remainder of the afternoon together, or I could have him stay at preschool for 6 hours and pick him up then.  We did mostly 3 hour days and a few 6's thrown in there through out the year.  Kindergarten is 7 hours a day, every single day.  And they expect him to sit still and be quiet.  How on earth do you expect a 5 year old boy to be quiet and sit still for that much time of the day?? I mean because if I can get him to sit for 15 minutes to eat dinner, I am ready to celebrate my success.

1.  Since when did Kindergarten become 1st grade?  Because when I went to Kindergarten (which I still have very strong memories of.. Thomas Paine Elementary..Mrs. Yates, the big yellow tube, getting to pick up the milk from the lunch room when it was your "special day" etc... ) it was half day and it was mostly playtime.  We also had music and art.  Kindergarten now, they expect so much out of your kid.. way more then they did when I was in elementary school.  Why does the world keep pushing kids to grow up faster?!  Seriously, they do it fast enough all on their own... just sayin'.



That is what it feels like I have been on. A hiatus from blogging. Besides a few book reviews, I haven't posted anything substantial in months. I read so many blogs that are witty and inspiring that it can discourage me from blogging because I think I will never be as clever as they are. But I'm back and will do my best to be witty and inspiring as well. I may rant, I may curse, I may cry, but I'll be real.

Here is a quick catch up of what our lives are like today. Mason our 5 year old (5 1/2 if you ask him, that 1/2 is sure important) just started Kindergarten in August and its pretty much kicking both of our asses. Between the awful 6am wake up, to the discipline marks he comes home with in his folder for talking too much (seriously, if they knew me, they would understand more, I never shut up, just ask my poor husband), and the teasing over his absolutely adorable Thomas and Friends raincoat I made him wear during the friggin' tropical storm (I mean seriously, who knew 5 year old could be bullies?!) by Friday at 5pm we are so thankful to have two days of less rushing and less structure.

See, I told you it was adorable.

My sweet husband is working extra hard at a new job. 45-50 hours of hard labor in this New Orleans heat and humidity is no fun, but we love love love him for all he does for us. He is cheering on the Phillies from afar, building complicated train tracks with Mason and taking us on new adventure all the time.

Building at the Louisiana Children's Museum

And I am keeping busy too. Still working full time as a nanny, but probably for only another 3 weeks or so. I am currently the president of our churches Episcopal Church Women's group and I start teaching Sunday School on Sunday from grades 2nd-5th. I am chairing our churches Annual Church Picnic next spring, and helping with our ESL (English as a Second Language) program at church as well. I also hope to get to spend some time volunteering at my son's school, though I will be on the hunt for a new job soon, even though being a stay at home mom is so tempting, it doesn't pay our bills, so off to work I will be going.

Mama and Mason

We are adjusting more and more to living in Louisiana, not that I don't complain when the humidity is 100% and the heat index has been over 110 for 2 week, or when we are standing in line at Walmart that are longer then they are at Christmas (seriously, WHY are there 787361 check out lanes in Walmart and it never fails that only 5 are open and someone is writing out a check in 1/2 of them) waiting to check out with every other person in our town who is stocking up their Hurricane Kit for an approaching Tropical System, but our friends and our church make missing home much more bearable.

Motherhood is still constantly keeping me on my toes and throwing me curve balls and I am always trying to be the best mom, wife and Christian I can be, though I will always be a work in progress. So I hope you will continue to come back and check out my blog, as I intend to be better about posting.

- Jess